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Isaac Levitan
Isaac Levitan selfportrait1880.jpg
Issac Levitan, Self portrait, 1880
Isaac Ilyich Levitan

30 August [O.S. 18 August] 1860
Kibarty, Augustów Governorate, Congress Poland, Russian Empire
Died 4 August [O.S. 22 July] 1900 (aged 39)
Nationality Russian
Education Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture
Known for Painting
Notable work
Autumn day. Sokolniki (1879)
Over Eternal Peace (1894)
Movement Realism, Peredvizhniki, Impressionism
Awards Silver Medal (1877)
Patron(s) Pavel Tretyakov, Savva Mamontov

Isaac Ilyich Levitan (Russian: Исаа́к Ильи́ч Левита́н; 30 August [O.S. 18 August] 1860 – 4 August [O.S. 22 July] 1900) was a classical Russian landscape painter who advanced the genre of the "mood landscape".


Levitan was born in 1860 in Kibarty, Lithuania. His father worked for a railroad company. From 1873 to 1885, Levitan went to school at the Moscow College of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in Moscow, Russia. He learned painting form the painters Savrasov and Polenov. Starting in 1884 his paintings went on display with the Society for Circulating Art Exhibitions. He became a member of the society in 1891. Levitan taught landscape painting at the Moscow College of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture starting in 1898. He died in Moscow in 1900.


In his career as a painter, Levitan painted many landscapes which were later thought of as masterpieces of Russian art. Levitan painted simple landscapes from Russia. Early in his career he painted scenes from around Moscow. Next he painted scenes from around the Volga River. His later paintings came from Vladimir, Vyshny Volochek, and the Tver region of Russia.

Later life

In the summer of 1890 Levitan went to Yuryevets (Юрьевец) and among numerous landscapes and etudes he painted The View of Krivooserski monastery. So the plan of one of his best pictures, The Silent Monastery, was born. The image of a silent Monastery and planked bridges over the river, connecting it with the outside world, expressed the artist's spiritual reflections. It is known that this picture made a strong impression on Chekhov.

In 1897, already world-famous, he was elected to the Imperial Academy of Arts and in 1898 he was named the head of the Landscape Studio at his alma mater.

Levitan spent the last year of his life at Chekhov’s home in Crimea. In spite of the effects of a terminal illness, his last works are increasingly filled with light. They reflect tranquility and the eternal beauty of Russian nature.

He was buried in Dorogomilovo Jewish cemetery. In April 1941 Levitan's remains were moved to the Novodevichy Cemetery, next to Chekhov's necropolis. Levitan did not have a family or children.

Isaac Levitan's hugely influential art heritage consists of more than a thousand paintings, among them watercolors, pastels, graphics, and illustrations.


A minor planet 3566 Levitan, discovered by Soviet astronomer Lyudmila Zhuravlyova in 1979 is named after him.

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